RE: The Point of No Return

Crosby_M (
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 13:33:01 -0500

In response to some of Anders Sandberg's ideas about transhuman life
expanding at the speed of light in order to avoid catastrophe, I
speculated that two 'genders' might be needed: "lingering learners"
and "always-pushing-on probes".

On Sunday 22 Dec 1996, J de Lyser wrote:
<If the probes don't stop, you are placing the task of reproduction of
those probes in the hands of whatever 'seeds' they leave behind,
therefore the individual 'seeds' would not have much time either, to
'smell the flowers'. The only goal of such a culture would be
Expansion, unless you come up with a 3 gender structure, viewing both
the probe and the replicators as 'units' whose sole purpose is to
spread the human/transhuman/posthuman or whatever life form... >

I was assuming that the probes wouldn't stop but that they would still
be able to take in energy and reproduce, even while on the move. The
probes would really carry two sets of 'genetic' instructions - one for
themselves and one for the 'seeds' they occasionally scatter to become
lingering colonists in some hospitable part of space.

Joost added:
<They [the probes] could 'drop off' their gathered knowlegde like
their 'seeds' at every new 'colony' they create, the knowledge could
then be brought back at lower speeds by a fourth type of unit, that
gathers information and spreads it between the colonies, not just
between colonies that were created by the same probe, but far more
efficiently by passing at least one colony of each probe, on its way
back to earth. >

This is a good idea and would probably require a "3 gender structure".
I was really thinking that the probes wouldn't gather that much
*knowledge*, except a continually more detailed map of hostile and
hospitable regions of space. Still, this knowledge would be useful for
those colonists who wanted to move on at a slower pace.

Also, I was thinking that the probes wouldn't be very creative and
would stay fairly static in order to devote their resources to
expansion and preservation of the 'species'. The problem that I was
really wondering about was how the lingering colonists might provide
updates to the probes and whether this would even be desirable.

As you say:
<If the probe 'drops' it's latest knowledge at it's last colony, they
can make new probes that include technology based on that new

Mark Crosby